(In response to: http://www.astronomy.net/forums/god/messages/26709.shtml )
"What do you think of Sheldrake's idea of morphic resonances and morphogenetic fields? "
I was excited about them when I first read about them, and I remain so. As you know, in my world view I posit a primordial consciousness and I consider that it is one and the same consciousness that seems to be experienced by each of us. I consider the brain to be a communication device (along with being a device for other more mundane local functions) allowing the (one and only) consciousness to couple with a brain both to perceive sense impressions and locally generated thoughts from the body and brain respectively, and to serve as a control conduit in order to exercise free will in flexing muscles in the body.
What Sheldrake's field did for me was to suggest a plausible medium for this communication in the same way the EM field provides a medium for radio and TV communication. Even more exciting was his suggestion that the presence of the field might be testable.
"I am interested in your idea of a (hyperdimensional) sentience that relates to our consciousness..."
I am so glad you are interested. If your interest exceeds a certain threshold, you might take a look at some of the essays I have posted in my web site at www.paulandellen.com/essays/essays.htm in which I have attempted to explain my ideas. But specifically, with respect to Sheldrake's ideas, in my view, morphic resonances make simple sense: Once the (one and only) consciousness has gained some skill or knowledge by having a certain experience while vicariously running a specific body (think of it as God wearing VR gloves and goggles and remotely running your body, all the while thinking he is actually nothing more than your body with its sense of experience), some of that newly gained skill or knowledge might be"remembered" to some degree so as to be useful in another such vicarious experience. (I know it sounds outlandish, but it all fits together so beautifully if you think about it.)
"contrary to what it may seem like, I am not closed to ideas of consciousness other than my own (emergent epiphenomenon of the brain)."
Believe it or not, in my scheme, there is no consciousness other than your own, but I don't think it is an emergent epiphenomenon of your brain.
"But I thought that his scientific methods when working with pigeons and crossword puzzles was a little outlandish perhaps? There seemed to be some spurious variables that he wasn't considering. Also, I found out later that other groups that repeated his experiments got different results from the ones he published. One such un-repeatable experiment was the one in which he claimed that if one group did a crossword puzzle, then a second group would have an easier time completing and more correct answers due to a 'morphic resonance' from the first group, etc."
It's been so long since I read the book that I don't remember anything about pigeons and crossword puzzles. The one I remember is about the crystallization of novel molecules. He proposed, if I remember correctly, inventing novel molecules, having them synthesized separately in many isolated labs, and then having all the labs simultaneously try to get the substance to crystallize. The prediction was that for difficult-to-crystallize molecules, there would be some significant amount of time elapse before the first success, but thereafter, the other labs would also experience success. Something like that. It seems to me that that would be a very telling experiment but I don't know if it was ever done.
Where did you get the videotape series you mentioned? I would like to see them.